Disaster recovery as a Service (DRaaS) offers a wealth of benefits when compared to a more traditional approach to business continuity. But not all DRaaS solutions are equal. It’s important to understand the difference between all your choices. Here’s how.
Are you ready to move your disaster recovery process into the cloud?
There are endless arguments in favor of doing so, such as reduced cost, greater efficiency, and faster turnaround times. Even so, you need to be careful. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is a great way to ensure business continuity through even the worst crisis, but only if you choose the right provider and prepare your own organization for its implementation.
Here are three ways how.
Get a Strong Service-Level Agreement
When you use a DRaaS platform, access to your back-ups is in the hands of another organization. If that provider is not trustworthy or reliable, you might find yourself losing access at the worst possible time. Service-level agreements (SLA) exist as a bulwark against that nightmare scenario.
A worthwhile DRaaS provider will offer a comprehensive SLA that includes:
- An uptime guarantee that clearly-establishes what actions the host will take if it fails to meet its commitment to you as a client.
- A minimum response time for questions, concerns, and technical support.
- A reporting period after which the client will conduct a performance review with the host.
- What constitutes “acceptable performance” for the host’s platform.
- Exceptions and exemptions, such as planned downtime/scheduled maintenance.
Learn About Data Governance and Security
Traditionally, cybersecurity was one of the biggest roadblocks to cloud acceptance. This is largely no longer the case. A well-maintained and well-managed cloud platform is every bit as secure as traditional infrastructure.
That isn’t to say you can afford to be complacent, however.
Before you sign on with a DRaaS provider, it’s important that you sit down and talk to them about data governance.
What measures do they take to protect client data? What level of importance do they place on privacy and security? What level of encryption do they use, and what sort of authentication and access controls do they have in place for internal staff?
A prospective DRaaS provider should be able to answer all of these questions. Moreover, it should be willing to provide you with a third-party audit that demonstrates it has taken the necessary actions to keep your data safe. And finally, there should be no question of who owns the data stored on the provider’s platform - you do.
Get Testing and Training
While it’s true that DRaaS is generally fairly easy to use, that does not mean you can simply deploy one and hope for the best. The coaching required to use a cloud platform might be minimal, but it is still necessary. It is imperative that you seek formal cloud training for your IT staff, even if you’re relying on a managed services provider.
That way, if you do eventually want to handle cloud backups internally, you’ll have the expertise to do so. Additionally, having trained IT staff will allow you to more effectively troubleshoot any issues you might encounter with your DRaaS platform. And finally, the potential uses of cloud computing go well beyond disaster recovery. A solid understanding of cloud technologies opens the door to a great deal of innovation.
Training aside, you also need to make sure your DRaaS system is tested thoroughly after implementation. You don’t want to wait until your business is in the throes of a disaster to discover you’ve done something improperly, after all. It’s also important to run regular tests and drills throughout the year, especially after adding new infrastructure.
I would also strongly advise updating your disaster recovery plan to account for the new technology. DRaaS is quite different from traditional DR solutions. Your approach to business continuity needs to reflect that.
Whether you’re relying on it for disaster recovery, software development, or your entire IT infrastructure, the cloud can be a powerful tool in the right hands.
There’s no disputing that. Just remember that you need the right training, awareness, and knowledge. Because like any other tool, cloud computing can be misused or misapplied.